I’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.
You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.
5 tbsp olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups fish stock
1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried whole oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seed
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces
1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half
1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
1 lb lump crabmeat
1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings
Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.
Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.
Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels. Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.
Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.